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Not Missing Her When She's Gone...Thoughts?

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Ascendant posted 3/27/2014 20:16 PM

So, we've been having this weird situation for a while now, my wife and I. Probably even pre-affair.

My wife comes home from work and usually tells me "I missed you". Nice sentiment. She gets upset (or hurt, perhaps, is the word she used) that I don't say the same thing to her.

Now here's the thing: I don't miss her when she's at work. I mean, listen: I find that most activities are made more enjoyable by having my wife around. I enjoy her company a great deal. She's smart and funny.

That being said, I don't suddenly feel a gaping hole or a longing for her when she's gone for 5 hours at work. I just don't. I still love her, but I like being by myself as well. I don't feel like I should lie to her and say "I miss you" just to assuage her feelings if it's not true. Also, the times when I really DO miss her? I tell her about it...but it's when the feeling is authentic.

Thoughts?

Jrazz posted 3/27/2014 20:26 PM

I was JUST thinking about this exact thing the other day.

I think that this is likely a permanent side affect of the A, for both a good and sad reason.

The sad reason first. We don't look at our spouses the same way, and we probably won't ever. There is an innocence that is lost, and no amount of love or work in the world is going to bring it back. We've detached, to protect ourselves and to let a little more reality in than we were ever willing to before.

The good reason, IMO, is that we have learned to shed some codependency that tethered us to our partners in a somewhat unhealthy manner. We used to look at our spouse as an emotional anchor, reminding ourselves that we are worthy of love and attention - in essence missing that person at any given moment. Now, we rely on ourselves for that worthiness, and we don't reach out to have our hands held anymore.

It's a loss of innocence and romance, but it's a gain of pragmatism and control that will be a more reliable emotional anchor than anything else out there.

Crazz still hopes for returned "I miss you" and "I love you"'s, but I only hand them back when I'm truly feeling it. At least I DO feel it sometimes, right?

(If anyone else wants depressing advice, I'll be here all night. )

4better4worse posted 3/27/2014 20:46 PM

Jrazz, that is really insightful, I can really relate to what you wrote! Thank you!

jjsr posted 3/27/2014 22:10 PM

JRazz, I think you hit the nail on the head. Preach sister, Preach!!!

FixYou71 posted 3/27/2014 23:30 PM

 

If anyone else wants depressing advice, I'll be here all night.  )

Ha! ha! Jrazz, you crack me up!!!

plainpain posted 3/28/2014 00:09 AM

Thank you for this. I feel exactly this. Maybe I am entering that lethal plain of flatness thing, but I am so overwhelmed by sadness over the loss of that love FEELING I used to have for him. I don't miss him when he's gone. I don't even think about him at all. I have detached. I used to adore him. 18 years of marriage and I still skipped to the door when he came home. I love him, and our marriage is no longer codependent, but I miss being 'in love'. God, I miss feeling alive and in love. I don't think it's ever going to come back, not with him or anyone. That makes me sad... except that your words made me see the good part of that. Maybe it's just me living in reality, instead of in a fantasy marriage. Maybe there is something better to be had than fantasy.

CheshCat posted 3/28/2014 00:34 AM

I bought a dog because I have a physical NEED to be jumped on when I walk in through the door... And decided that was an impossible standard to hold my ex-husband to.

Not all husbands, just mine.

My dad is the same way as I am. If he doesn't have the thundering hoard descending on him when he gets home, he's not happy.

Now... If the thundering hoard descends upon my mum? Holy rusted metal batman, HIDE. Ye have awakened the dragon, let the woman have time to set her stuff down & pee & decide not to murder us all .

Shrug.

People have different needs.

I don't need to be missed... I just need to be tackled.
Others need to be missed.
Others need a few minutes of peace & quiet.
Others, others, others, others.

Whatever.

I think you two have 2 different competing needs.

Honesty

Vs

Welcoming Rituals

_______

I do count "Welcoming Rituals" as a need... Only because for so many of us, they set up how we feel the next few hours. We're "home". Sanctuary. Whatever that may be. Loud and raucous, serene and silent, beautiful chaos, perfect order. When that welcome is grating / the opposite of what makes us feel that sanctuary... There's trouble.

Is there a way that BOTH your needs can be met in this situation, without sacrificing one?

Maybe some sort of Love Language thing (a kiss, a cold drink, a clean kitchen, a "You look lovely", a quality time carved out)? So that you're not saying you missed her when you didn't... But she still feels loved?

TheBestMe posted 3/28/2014 06:17 AM

We don't look at our spouses the same way, and we probably won't ever...a loss of innocence and romance, but it's a gain of pragmatism and control....I love you"'s, but I only hand them back when I'm truly feeling it. At least I DO feel it sometimes, right?...

^^^^ Thanks for letting me that I am not alone.

AFrayedKnot posted 3/28/2014 06:46 AM

Is there a different validating phrase that you could say that is more inline with your authenticity?

Like "I'm glad your home" or something like that.

Angel177 posted 3/28/2014 07:00 AM

Great post Jrazz!! I have been struggling with feeling this way too and I've been trying to figure out why but I think you are right on in saying it's about being less codependent which is a good thing but it definitly does feel sad at the same time because of the way we got here.

StrongerOne posted 3/28/2014 07:19 AM

What CheshCat said.

Can you say something that is true and heartfelt and that will be a good substitute for a false "I missed you"?

Like: I'm so happy to be home with you!

I personally use "Hey handsome man, give me a smooch" (mostly because it makes our teen DS gag and retreat to his room ).

It doesn't have to be that goofy, of course, but maybe goofy will let you say more, which is what your W seems to want, KWIM?

My H is like you -- doesn't actually say much on coming home, but he looks up and gives a big smile when he comes in, so that works for me.

Ascendant posted 3/28/2014 08:12 AM

Thanks for the responses, everyone!

The good reason, IMO, is that we have learned to shed some codependency that tethered us to our partners in a somewhat unhealthy manner.
This is a complicated area for me internally. I actually fully detached in the months and weeks prior to DDAY due to my wife's drinking at the time, as well as trying to establish a healthy routine for myself re: bedtime and waking up early going to the gym. Essentially, she was mad that I didn't want to stay up all hours of the night with her, I wanted to go to sleep and wake up early and go to the gym.

I knew my plan was healthy for me, and hers was not...so as soon as I reached that point intellectually, I began to do the work of detaching. I stopped worrying about what she was doing after I went to bed...

(drinking and texting OM, it turned out, as well as occasionally sneaking out to go to his house to 'talk' at 3:00 AM, which somehow ended up turning into sex. Shock, there.)

...I stopped feeling bad, or guilty, or like a terrible husband who was abandoning his wife, even though that's what she was telling me I was at the time. When I wanted to go to bed prior to detaching, I'd feel terrible about leaving her alone, and she'd guilt-trip me about it. During the detachment process, I told myself that I was making the healthiest choice for me and eventually it became easier.

Then DDAY hit. It was really the second one, the PA one, but the story behind the first DDAY that we rug-swept 7 months prior is long. And like any coping mechanism, the codependent traits kicked back into effect HARD.

Fix, fix, fix.
Fix it, fix her, fix me.

It's taken me a 14 or so months to get to the point where I can feel like I be honest about what I'm feeling or not feeling. Intellectually, it's been there since DDAY +1, but there was still that nagging gut-level fear that if I made her mad, or didn't spend time with her, or whatever, she'd cheat again. So, I think somehow I've reached a point where I'm fiercely protective of my skills and traits that I've earned and learned in my efforts to not be codependent, and my hackles get raised when people say anything about them.

And people do.

If there's one thing I've learned from all this reading and IC and stuff, it's that a great many people (probably most) confuse boundaries and lack of enabling in relationships with abusive or non-loving behavior. I know I shouldn't care what other people think....I'm a-workin' on it....

Chicho:

That's solid advice, sir, and something I've been considering for a bit.

Thanks for the advice and thoughts, everyone.

brokensmile322 posted 3/28/2014 08:20 AM

And I would just like to add, when she says "I missed you", does she really mean she missed you or is there something else, some other feeling behind that statement?

Like, "are we still good?', "do you still love me, want to be here, want to work on this, etc…?'

I have learned since dday that sometimes what people are saying or needing isn't really what it appears to be. She might think she really wants you to say back "I missed you too." But maybe what she really wants is just reassurance from you, not that you really missed her.

I don't know if any of that made sense, but...

wert posted 3/28/2014 08:31 AM

Is there a different validating phrase that you could say that is more inline with your authenticity?
Like "I'm glad your home" or something like that.

This one is just too good not to chime in on. I would say this. They are words. Talk about it.

For me, being present at work means not "missing" my W. Being present with coaching my kids means not "missing" my W. When I am with my W I am happy about it (most times :))

If who you are is not needing/want to saying it, explain it to her. I no longer have a "need" to be with my W. That is far different from not wanting her in my life. It is far different from her not being the most important person in my life (aside from myself). I think this separation is critical to personal health.

That all said they are just words. I would ask your W to look at the body of time spent, work put in and actions expressed by you to determine your "missing" her or your "love" for her. What do those words mean? Fertile ground for conversation.

take care....

Ascendant posted 3/28/2014 08:31 AM

And I would just like to add, when she says "I missed you", does she really mean she missed you or is there something else, some other feeling behind that statement?

Like, "are we still good?', "do you still love me, want to be here, want to work on this, etc…?'

I have learned since dday that sometimes what people are saying or needing isn't really what it appears to be. She might think she really wants you to say back "I missed you too." But maybe what she really wants is just reassurance from you, not that you really missed her

Right...I get that. One of the promises I made to myself after DDAY was that I would no longer try to guess the true meaning behind the things people say.

My view is that as the listener I have a responsibility to be receptive (and not defensive), but not interpretive...meaning that the responsibility of clarity of message rests with the person doing the speaking, i.e. my wife.

She could mean any number of hundreds of different sentiments with "I miss you", but it's not possible for me to know which it is. It's her job to make sure that the message she's conveying to me matches the feeling inside as closely as possible, you know?

SisterMilkshake posted 3/28/2014 08:32 AM

Pre A, I was very much like you Ascendant. I enjoyed my alone time very much. He could go away for a weekend hunting/fishing, and I enjoyed the time to myself. I enjoyed hogging up the bed. I could go visit my family out of state for over a week and not miss my FWH at all. He would ask me "Did you miss me?" and I would bluntly tell him "No." Because I didn't. He would be hurt.

I was independent (but co-dependent at the same time) and have always been one to enjoy my alone time, in fact, I need alone time. (Growing up with 7 sibs did that to me, I think!) I had also built this enormous wall up between FWH and myself. I needed to protect myself from his selfish behaviour and building this wall protected (and harmed) me. I detached a lot emotionally from FWH. He treated me horribly. Not abusively, but just so selfish, there was no room for me, it was always me, me, me with FWH. Although, there was some verbal abuse at times from him, too.

Now, I really do miss him. We have gotten so close, have real intimacy. My wall is down and so is his. I do miss him when he is at work. He will call me on his first break at work and tell me he misses me. I always want him to come home as I miss him, too. I still do need and enjoy my alone time, but now I actually do miss my FWH. I don't feel it is because of co-dependency, I feel it is a genuine feeling that we just always want to be with each other now.

Long post, no help for you, either. I do like and agree with Chesh Cat's perspective on coming home rituals. I also agree that you need to be authentic. Would saying "I love you" or "Glad that you are home" work for your wife in response to her "I missed you." ?

Ascendant posted 3/28/2014 08:33 AM

wert-

That conversation has taken place, trust me. I think she gets it on an intellectual level, but she's a lot more driven by her feelings at any given moment than I am, so I think that 'pinging' coming from within is harder for her to manage and process. Still great advice though.

brokensmile322 posted 3/28/2014 08:50 AM

Ascendent, I appreciate what you are saying here…

My view is that as the listener I have a responsibility to be receptive (and not defensive), but not interpretive...meaning that the responsibility of clarity of message rests with the person doing the speaking, i.e. my wife.

She could mean any number of hundreds of different sentiments with "I miss you", but it's not possible for me to know which it is. It's her job to make sure that the message she's conveying to me matches the feeling inside as closely as possible, you know?

and I totally agree. Gently, though, it seems a bit harsh.

And I don't know your back story and you may have been doing a lot of interpretive guessing before and don't want to do it anymore. I understand that.

However, if you both have discovered that your WW needs to work on saying what she really means, I think you do have a roll in R to try to point that out to her, that is, of course, assuming that she is working on herself to change these things.

In other words, I would be saying to her, are you really saying that you miss me or is there something else behind that? Can you think about that and then we can talk about it again?

Yes, it is her job to say what she means, but it takes time to relearn old habits. And my WH helps me with the things I am trying to change and I do the same for him.

For instance, one sticking point in our M is that he has trouble validating my feelings when he doesn't agree with my thoughts. He reverts backs often because it is not his norm.

I can choose to say "It is his responsibility to validate me." or I can realize that he is trying to change this about himself and when he falls back into that pattern I can gently remind him.

So instead I will say "I know you don't agree with me, but you are discounting my feelings again about this situation right now."

This makes him pause. He leaves and comes back and is able to validate me now. It takes time. It's a process to relearn this stuff.

I don't know if your WW is in IC and working on this particular issue or not. If she is, I don't think you have to interpret what she means, but you could ask her if 'missing you' is in fact what she really means.

I hope I did not step on any toes. I was only trying to point out that maybe missing you isn't the issue and was trying to offer a solution if that is the case.


bionicgal posted 3/28/2014 08:51 AM

I am with SMilkshake on this one -- I miss H more when he is at work, and when he travels than I did pre-A because we are just closer. Sounds crazy -- but too much independence is what caused us problems. So, I struggle with this:

The sad reason first. We don't look at our spouses the same way, and we probably won't ever. There is an innocence that is lost, and no amount of love or work in the world is going to bring it back. We've detached, to protect ourselves and to let a little more reality in than we were ever willing to before. We have learned to shed some codependency that tethered us to our partners in a somewhat unhealthy manner. We used to look at our spouse as an emotional anchor, reminding ourselves that we are worthy of love and attention - in essence missing that person at any given moment. Now, we rely on ourselves for that worthiness, and we don't reach out to have our hands held anymore.

You know, we just finished reading a book called Hold Me Tight, which makes a pretty convincing case for attachment theory in adults. In other words, the author aruges that we are wired to have a person that we look to to anchor us -- to make us feel grounded in the world. The author says that many relationship problems stem from this idea that we are supposed to stand completely on our own first. I know many people here believe that, and if it works for you, fine. However, for me loving connection means some amount of mutual dependency. (Not co-dependency, there is a difference.)

In our case, it was my husband and I constantly trying to fill all our own needs and not looking to each other enough that got us into this mess in the first place. Neither of us felt needed, or essential to the other person. I think this independent, "I am an island" mentality is really detrimental to many marriages. We can contribute to another's sense of self-worth, and we really should try to, although we obviously cannot control it.

[This message edited by bionicgal at 9:08 AM, March 28th (Friday)]

wert posted 3/28/2014 08:51 AM

Glad to hear the conversation has happened.


so I think that 'pinging' coming from within is harder for her to manage and process.

I would just point out that the level of introspection, self talk and self actualization needed to "process and manage these type of situations is what separates a WS from a BS in many cases.

In the case of my W, she had none of those skills. Her thoughts were her. Scary knowing that now, but the evolution of moving from a selfish person to an actual one, is right there one's ability to process internally. Followed by actions naturally. It's a constant battle for us all.

take care...

[This message edited by wert at 8:52 AM, March 28th (Friday)]

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